CAMP TAQUADDUM, Iraq --
One Buffalo native may be the only female crew chief with the Marine Light Attack Helicopter Squadron 367 here, but that’s not why she stands out among her peers.
With a commitment to excellence and a strong sense of duty, Cpl. Lisa M. Bodenburg, a UH-1N Huey crew chief, has continually distinguished herself in her two years in the Marine Corps.
“Corporal Bodenburg stands out not because she is a female, but because she is very knowledgeable about the job and her performance speaks for itself,” said Sgt. Daniel Basan, a fellow crew chief with the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing (Forward) squadron. “Any command she goes to in the future will be lucky to have an asset like her.”
After graduating with honors from Kenmore East High School in 2005, Bodenburg excelled at boot camp, graduating as her platoon’s honor graduate and earning a meritorious promotion to private first class.
As she advanced in her Marine Corps career, Bodenburg graduated in at least the top four of all her job training courses. She recently earned her combat aircrew wings, allowing her to serve as the mission crew chief without having a training crew chief on board.
Bodenburg also has a flawless physical fitness resume, scoring perfect on nine straight Marine Corps physical fitness tests. She credits that impressive streak to four years of running high school track and cross country.
Graduating high school at 17 years old, she had some time on her hands before she could enlist. Rather than waiting around, she took some college courses and worked at the police department. As soon as she turned 18, she went to Marine Corps Recruit Depot, Parris Island, S.C.
Before stepping into the Marine recruiter’s office for the first time, Bodenburg wanted to become a force reconnaissance Marine. Discovering that females can’t fill ground combat jobs, she chose one that allowed her to get close to the action but with a birds eye view – a Huey crew chief.
“Crew chief isn’t a job females can easily obtain and at one point in time, couldn’t obtain at all,” said Bodenburg. “Being a crew-chief is how I’m able to get into the fight and help the ground units.”
Her inspiration to join the Marine Corps came from her brother, a policeman with the Baltimore Police Department, and from history classes that highlighted for her how lucky she is to be an American.
“I remember reading the history books and I came to the realization that being an American is a privilege that we have,” said the 20-year-old. “I chose to serve my country out of respect for those who did before me.”
When she originally told her family about her decision to serve in the Marine Corps, her mother didn’t share her enthusiasm. Over time, she accepted and supported her decision to pursue a career in the military.
“I didn’t want her to join the military at all when she got out of high school,” said Cheryl Bodenburg. “However, I support her in every decision that she’s made and I couldn’t be more proud of her for what she’s doing. She’s come a very long way in a job that is pre-dominantly male.”
Bodenburg and HMLA-367 will wrap up their deployment before the end of the year.